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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Move Higher
by Gerald D. Cohen  March 12, 2019

Retail gasoline prices increased to $2.47 per gallon last week (-3.4% year-on-year), the highest level since late November 2018. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in gasoline pump prices. The seasonally-adjusted price rose to $2.60 per gallon, a three-and-a-half-month high.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices increased to an average of $56.42 (-8.5% y/y) per barrel last week. Oil prices hit an 18-month low of $44.55 at the end of last year, rose steadily until late February, and have been range-bound since. Yesterday, prices moved up to $56.79 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices ticked higher to an average of $65.86 per barrel last week and were $66.65 yesterday.

Natural gas prices jumped to an average of $3.31/mmbtu last week (20.8% y/y) from $2.91/mmbtu as cold snap hit the Midwest and East. Prices fell to $2.86 yesterday as more seasonal weather returned.

In the four-weeks ending March 1st, gasoline demand declined 1.9% y/y, while total petroleum product demand increased 0.9% y/y. Gasoline inventories edged down 0.1% y/y in the week ending March 1st, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 1.4% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries declined 0.7% y/y in the last four weeks.

These data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY and DAILY databases. Greater detail on prices, as well as the demand, production and inventory data, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 3/11/2019 3/4/2019 2/25/2019 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.47 2.42 2.39 -3.4 2.27 2.47 2.31
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 56.42 56.13 56.75 -8.5 64.95 50.87 43.22
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 3.31 2.91 2.71 20.8 3.18 2.99 2.51
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